How to grow Taxus baccata or Yew

Published on 24 September 2023 at 17:23

What I like the most about holidays?

I believe you've got it right! More plants to discover, more seeds to pick, more cuttings to take! That's why garden shears is my must have every day and on holidays especially because there's no turning back.
And of course better grab some ziplock bags and gloves.
Like for Taxus baccata. When I just picked a few striking red fleshy gooey berries I've got that feeling there's something fishy about them. And warned the kids not to touch, just in case. Using app I identified the plant as Taxus baccata or Yew (I don't get any benefits from the developers, just so far I found it the most easy to use). Turned out that all parts of the plant is poisonous and needed to be handle with care.
So here's what I found about Yew and sharing it with you. 

The Taxus baccata plant is a conifer that is commonly known as the Yew. It is a native of Europe, Northern Africa, and parts of the middle east and South West Asia.

It gets its common name of Yew because of the bark's brown colour (turning reddish-brown in mature trees).

The second part of its scientific name, 'baccata', is a Latin reference to it having red berries.

Evergreen tree or shrub is popular in landscaping, hedging and topiary thanks to its dense growth can be clipped into neat shapes, and as a symbol of immortality in churchyards, with some trees thought to be over 1000 years old.
When grown as a tree, it has red-brown, peeling bark, a dense year-round canopy of dark green needle-like leaves, and red berry-like fruits called arils (on female plants). Yew can eventually reach 12m (40ft) or more over time, if left unpruned.
Yew is valuable to many types of wildlife. Its dense growth provides shelter for birds and insects all year round, while the fruits are a food source for various birds and small mammals in autumn and winter.
However, be aware that yew foliage is highly poisonous, to both humans and animals, and while the fruits are not poisonous, the seed inside them is extremely toxic. It would be wise to wear gloves when handling yew cuttings, and never plant it within reach of grazing animals. 

Growing Conditions

  • Best Light Conditions: Full sunlight through to full shade.
  • Suitable Soil Types: Fertile sandy loam for best results.
  • Suitable Soil pH: 6 to 6.5 for best results but can grow at most Soil acidities. Overly acidic soils (4.5 to 5.4) or alkaline soils lacking iron (ph 7.0+) may result in yellowing of needles and a thin foliage.
  • Soil Soil Moisture: Very good drainage required. Medium moisture. Yew trees grown in wet soil are susceptible to root rot and produce brown foliage / needles. Brown needles may also be a result of too much salt.
  • Sowing, planting, and Propagation: Preferably propagate from cuttings.
    Seeds: Caution, wear gloves as Yew seeds are very poisonous. Harvest fresh berries to a garden use colander, squash berries and remove seeds. Flush seeds clean with water in the colander. Dry seeds on a kitchen towel. Sow into individual pots containing moist compost and sand (50:50 mix). Bury seeds but allow tip to show. Sprinkle sand on top. Place pots under a cold frame. Mist soil with water when dry; do not overwater. Germination takes at least two winters. Plant for hedging use in the autumn. 
    Yew Propagation: Propagate from Semi-ripe cuttings (new season growth: Hard base of cutting / Soft tip) towards the end of summer or at the start of autumn.
  • Care: As all parts of Yew are poisonous it is recommended to wear gardening gloves when dealing with this plant. Low maintenance plant. Can be Pruned heavily for shape / topiary. Trim hedges once in the summer or at the start of autumn. If a Yew hedge has been neglected and shows a bear trunk it may be best to cut down to ground level to rejuvenate the hedge; this should be done late in the winter or at the beginning of spring.

Information about the Taxus baccata was quoted from ©

If you have experience how to successfully germinate Yew seeds faster please leave a comment in the section below!

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